if I didn’t dilate, am I doomed to failure the next time too?

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I get a lot of questions on my website from women wondering about induction. This comment from a reader is an all too familiar scenario. Her induction eventually led to cesarean birth. She writes,

Hello. I was induced on my due date with my first baby. I was only at 1 cm, had no contractions, nor had my water broken. After I was induced, I was in labor for about 19 hrs. My baby’s heart rate kept dropping because the contractions were putting too much stress, so I ended up with a c-section.

I had only reached 2 1/2 cm of dilation at that point. I do NOT want another c-section. MY husband and I want to try for baby number 2. I want to know what my chances are of not dilating fast enough before the baby goes into distress again. Am I doomed with bad luck in not being able to dilate? Please help me understand this!

baby-feetI’m so sorry that this happened and that you feel that your body failed you.  (((hugs)))  You are a victim of the current obstetrical system that is quick to induce when it’s not necessary and when women are not ready for labor.  Your next pregnancy is not doomed and you can dilate and you can have a vaginal birth.

Make sure to choose a birth team who will “allow a trial of labor” and attend vaginal births after cesarean–VBAC!

Unfortunately, situations like this happen every day in labor halls. You were induced on your due date. The due date is not a magical day when the baby needs to be born.  The average length of first pregnancies is over 41 weeks if allowed to wait for labor to start on its own.

Your body simply wasn’t ready for labor and the induction didn’t work.  You might have been diagnosed with failure to progress. It’s as simple as that.  Not every baby can handle the stress of a lengthy pitocin induction and will go into distress, necessitating a cesarean.

For next time, you can figure out if an induction is likely to be successful by finding out your bishop score or you can always  just say no to induction as long as there is no medical reason to induce. I want to be clear that many inductions are absolutely necessary for the health of either the mother or the baby or both.  One of the things you can do to avoid a repeat cesearan is to prepare for a natural birth.

To answer the question, am I doomed to failure the next time if I didn’t dilate with my first pregnancy, the answer is no. A resounding no. Each pregnancy and labor are different.